Section: Partnerships and Cooperations

European Initiatives

FP7 & H2020 Projects

FP7 Space RemoveDEBRIS

Participants : Aurélien Yol, Eric Marchand, François Chaumette.

  • Instrument: Specific Targeted Research Project

  • Duration: October 2013 - September 2016

  • Coordinator: University of Surrey (United Kingdom)

  • Partners: Surrey Satellite Technology (United Kingdom), Astrium (Toulouse, France and Bremen, Germany), Isis (Delft, The Netherlands), CSEM (Neuchâtel, Switzerland), Stellenbosch University (South Africa).

  • Inria contact: François Chaumette

  • Abstract: The goal of this project is to validate model-based tracking algorithms on images acquired during an actual space debris removal mission. [38]


Participants : Paolo Robuffo Giordano, François Chaumette.

  • Title: Multi-contact Collaborative Humanoids in Aircraft Manufacturing

  • Programm: H2020

  • Duration: January 2015 - January 2019

  • Coordinator: CNRS (Lirmm)

  • Partners: Airbus Groups (France), DLR (Germany), Universita Degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza (Italy)

  • Inria contact: François Chaumette

  • Comanoid investigates the deployment of robotic solutions in well-identified Airbus airliner assembly operations that are laborious or tedious for human workers and for which access is impossible for wheeled or rail-ported robotic platforms. As a solution to these constraints a humanoid robot is proposed to achieve the described tasks in real-use cases provided by Airbus Group. At a first glance, a humanoid robotic solution appears extremely risky, since the operations to be conducted are in highly constrained aircraft cavities with non-uniform (cargo) structures. Furthermore, these tight spaces are to be shared with human workers. Recent developments, however, in multi-contact planning and control suggest that this is a much more plausible solution than current alternatives such as a manipulator mounted on multi-legged base. Indeed, if humanoid robots can efficiently exploit their surroundings in order to support themselves during motion and manipulation, they can ensure balance and stability, move in non-gaited (acyclic) ways through narrow passages, and also increase operational forces by creating closed-kinematic chains. Bipedal robots are well suited to narrow environments specifically because they are able to perform manipulation using only small support areas. Moreover, the stability benefits of multi-legged robots that have larger support areas are largely lost when the manipulator must be brought close, or even beyond, the support borders. COMANOID aims at assessing clearly how far the state-of-the-art stands from such novel technologies. In particular the project focuses on implementing a real-world humanoid robotics solution using the best of research and innovation. The main challenge will be to integrate current scientific and technological advances including multi-contact planning and control; advanced visual-haptic servoing; perception and localization; human-robot safety and the operational efficiency of cobotics solutions in airliner manufacturing.


Participants : Paolo Robuffo Giordano, Nicolo Pedemonte, Firas Abi Farraj, François Chaumette.

  • Title: Robotic Manipulation for Nuclear Sort and Segregation

  • Programm: H2020

  • Duration: May 2015 - May 2018

  • Coordinator: Univ. Birmingham (UK)

  • Partners: NLL (UK), CEA (France), Univ. Darmstat (Germany)

  • CNRS contact: Paolo Robuffo Giordano

  • The RoMaNS project aims at advancing the state of the art in autonomous, tele-operative and shared control for remote manipulation. This has far reaching cross-sector applications in nuclear, aerospace, oil and gas, space, food and agriculture. Within the nuclear industries of multiple EU states, it applies across the entire sector, such as waste processing, decommissioning, asset care, maintenance, repair, characterization and sampling. The novel technology that will be produced within this project will be applied to a very challenging and safety-critical nuclear “sort and segregate” industrial problem, which is driven by urgent market and societal needs. The purpose of nuclear sort and segregate is to place low-level waste in low-level storage containers, rather than occupying extremely expensive and resource intensive higher level storage containers and facilities. Also, Waste Requiring Additional Treatment (WRAT) will be either decontaminated, recycled, compacted, incinerated or grouted. Finally, any unstable waste items are sorted into a more suitable storage state. Indeed, it can be noted that cleaning up the past half century of nuclear waste, in the UK alone (mostly at the Sellafield site), represents one of the largest environmental remediation projects in Europe. Most EU countries have similar challenges. Many older EU nuclear sites (>60 years in UK) contain large numbers of legacy storage containers, many of which have contents of mixed contamination levels, and sometimes unknown contents. Some of this waste have been temporarily stored in containers, which may need to be disrupted or cut open, to investigate their contents, before sorted and segregated. Any country that possesses a nuclear plant, even without a current backlog of legacy waste, will face similar challenges when they begin decommissioning. Vast quantities of highly contaminated plant machinery and infrastructure will have to be demolished, cut and resized, and the parts sorted and segregated. Much of this work can only be done by remote manipulation methods, because the high levels of radioactive material are hazardous to humans. In this respect, the RoMaNS project will address the following points: (i) development of novel hardware, and improvement the TRL level of existing experimental hardware, to enable robot arms and grippers with advanced capabilities, but which are suitable for deployment in high radiation environments; (ii) development of advanced autonomy methods for highly adaptive and generalizable automatic grasping and manipulation actions; (iii) development of hardware and software solutions for advanced bi-lateral tele-operation of arms and grippers; (iv) combination of autonomy and tele-operation methods using state-of-the-art understanding of mixed initiative planning, variable autonomy and shared control approaches; (v) delivery of a TRL 6 demonstration in an industrial plant-representative environment at the UK National Nuclear Lab Workington test facility, in close proximity to the Sellafield nuclear site.